Tuesday, December 30, 2014

... And I'm Staying

First the drama.  The GM that welcomed me on a trial basis at the new shop has been "demoted".  She is no longer a GM anywhere, she is being sent to "train" as an assistant manager at a different shop for 2 months, then she may get another trial as a GM.

One of the 2 Assistant Managers at the same shop put in her 2 weeks notice to go work the front desk at Kalahari.
  • I am making better tips ($3.59 avg compared to $3.01 at the other shop) and more $ per hour ($14.97 compared to $13.38).
  • I feel the neighborhood is safer.
  • The shop is smaller (fewer employees) so I get to learn new skills such as answering the counter or the pick-up window.
  • The shop closes earlier, so I am not as tired the next day.
All of this led to me calling my old GM this morning and asking to be permanently transferred to the new shop (despite the drama and not knowing who the new GM will be).

So I drove tonight, wasn't expecting much as it was a Monday and my previous Monday at this shop was 10 deliveries and $30 in tips.  Tonight was totally different:  19 deliveries and $58 in tips!

Manager Lilly remarked that she had never been as busy on a Monday. I did notice that during the last couple hours I had a few repeat deliveries to neighborhoods that I had recently delivered to ... also I have noticed some other drivers that don't consistently use their car toppers ... coincidence?

Monday, December 22, 2014

New Shop, Big Bucks!

So about a week ago, I thought I was working on a Friday night and found out I wasn't on the schedule.  Mostly on a lark, I called former manager Meredith.  When I started at this shop back in June, she was an assistant manager.  Within about a month she got transferred and is now the GM at a franchise the next town over.  This is a sleepy lakefront town.

Anyways, Meredith replied that she actually did need a driver.  I didn't really want to work farther from home, but since I'm on Christmas break from my day job as a math teacher, I do have time to travel.

This shop is the smallest of the 3 I have worked at.  There is no dining room, it is delivery / carry-out only.  There is no dish machine, all the dishes are washed by hand (by the drivers, me).

My first delivery tip was $5 (to the cashier at the local Marathon station).  Next another $5 on a $50 order.  (Had to rerun because someone else packed the order incorrectly.  Kind of frustrating but learned not to trust others.)  Third delivery was a $3 tip who apologized that she couldn't give more.

I was liking this town!

Next another $5, and then $10 on another large ($55) order, then 2 more $5's.

I was starting to notice a pattern at the former store, that the dinner crowd tips better than the late night crowd, and this was definitely the case, as my next 6 deliveries included a stiff, 2 $2's, and 3 $3's.  Final delivery of the night was another $10 tip (on a $20 order).

Totals for the night were 6.99 hours, 14 deliveries, 56 miles, and $62 in tips.  I was the only driver from about 9:30 until close (midnight, on a Friday).

I've got 5 more shifts planned over the next 2 weeks (including 2 more Fridays plus New Years Eve).  If this continues, I may seriously consider a permanent transfer!

Saturday, November 29, 2014


We have a weekly phone contest for "upselling", in other words, asking the customer to add a side order (wings, breadsticks, Pepsi, desserts) to their order.  You have to take 15 orders and I usually don't work enough hours to get that many orders.  Winner gets a $10 gas card.

I noticed today I was 4/4 on upselling (the computer shows the top upsellers of the day) so I made a concerted effort to get to the phones for the rest of my shift.  I had the boss check and towards the end of the night I had 14 orders and was in the lead (among qualified employees).

But by that time we were no longer busy and the manager asked me to cash out my deliveries and clock out.  I was hoping the phone would ring again but it did not.  So right before I clocked out, I took my own order, a cookie and breadsticks.  That gave me the 15 minimum and put me (barely) in the lead.

Then the phone rang again.  I took the order but unfortunately all they wanted was a pizza!  Now I was out of the lead.  There are 4 more days in the week but since I don't work, my chances are pretty slim that everyone's upsell will fall below mine.  Oh well.

Totals for the night were 6.47 hours, 13 deliveries, 59 miles, and $45 in tips.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Better Safe Than Robbed!

As I've posted here before, the night before Thanksgiving is one of my favorite nights to deliver pizza.  Many kids are home from college, getting back together for the first time since summer.  And many mom's are busy preparing Thursday's big meal and are looking for an easy way to feed the family on Wednesday night.

The night started off super, with 3 five-dollar tips and a seven-dollar tip in my first 4 deliveries.  Then things plummeted.  Manager Nick had properly staffed (or maybe even over-staffed) the drivers and I ended the night with 8 hours, 13 runs, $36 in tips, and 66 miles.  (The stores computer expected me to drive 61 miles).  So my last 9 runs netted me a total of $14 in tips.  Pretty crummy.

But the story of the night was crime.  About a week ago a driver from a rival pizza shop was robbed in our town, and Tuesday a driver from our chain, about 5-10 miles away, was robbed on a delivery.  So of course we were all alert and on our toes.

A little after 11 I had a potential double, but one of the orders was to a new customer.  Our protocol after dark is to only accept delivery orders to new customers that are pre-paid by credit card.

This order had been placed online and was NOT prepaid.  I tried several times to call the customer to work out the payment, but there was no answer.  So I left the order in the shop and the manager eventually cancelled it.  Apparently the customer called around 12:30 wondering where their pizza was.

Moral of the story ... I don't want robbed, and if you really want your pizza, answer your phone!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Weekend Update

No, I am not Dennis Miller from SNL.  I've just been getting home too late to write my blog post at night.

Friday's most interesting activities were in the store.  One driver was upset and was making plans to go to the doctor to get his fertility tested.  Apparently a girl he has been intimate with off-and-on told him she hooked up with another guy and got knocked up.  Instead of being glad it wasn't him, his thoughts were "what's wrong with me?"

An hour later he was ready to go home "and kill some zombies", having picked up a new, older X-Box game.  It was payday of course.

Friday's totals were 9.95 hours, 18 runs, $51 in tips, and 81 miles.

Saturday a different driver showed me his stobe-light set-up inside his car!

I had a couple interesting deliveries on Saturday.  One customer's order was $16.58.  She paid with a $20, stood there patiently while I reached in my pocket, grabbed my cash clip, and counted out $3.  Then she handed all 3 back to me.  Does the phrase "Keep the change" ring a bell?

Another customer had an order of $13.58.  I told her she had "about 6 coming back" and she told me to "keep 2 for myself".  I handed her the $4 and she said "where's the change?"  I dug in my pocket and handed her 2 quarters.  Often I would have had to go back to the car, or just give her a buck.  Most pizza guys I know do not carry coin change.

Saturday's totals were 8.76 hours, 18 runs, $44 in tips, and 82 miles.

School is starting back up next week so my schedule will dwindle to some Fridays (and a rare Sunday before a Monday holiday).

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Free Pizza!

That is what everyone wants when they see me driving down their street.

But in this case, it was Little Caesars giving out free food to low income families, in my hometown.

Big Tip on Small Order

One thing I don't like about the new town I am delivering in is that almost no one has a light shining on their house numbers.  It is so difficult to read house numbers in the dark.  If you order food after dark, put your porch light on please!

My most surprising tip tonight was $8.50 on a $12.58 order (cheese sticks & a big cookie).

Tonight's shift was short due to my busy schedule this weekend and the upcoming rib festival.  Totals for the night are 5.5 hours, 8 runs, $24 in tips, and 37 miles.

Monday, July 28, 2014

"No Food In The House"

The highlight of tonight's work was not a delivery but a phone order.

I answered the phone and a man asked if he could order food for someone else.  I asked if he was going to pay by credit card and he said yes.  Apparently his daughter lives in our delivery area (and he does not) and called him to let him know they were hungry but had no food in the house.  He ordered 2 dinner boxes (pizza, breadsticks, cinnamon sticks) and a 2-liter.  It made me feel sorry for the daughter but nice that she reached out to her dad and he was taking care of her.

I didn't get to post on Friday but the totals for Friday were 9.36 hours, 19 runs, 84 miles, and $47 in tips.

Tonight's totals were 8.59 hours, 18 runs, 83 miles, and $66 in tips.  Tonight was a very good night!  Low tip was $2 and high was $6.44, with 6 tips of $5 or more.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Good Questions and a Bag of Coins

I had 2 interesting questions tonight.  One customer remarked on the $2.59 delivery charge and asked if I got that.  I do get about a buck (currently $1.25, depends on the price of gas) per delivery for mileage but pizza drivers did get mileage reimbursement before delivery charges, so the true answer is NO.  Customers still need to tip.

The other question, on the phone, was, would they get their order just as fast if they order online versus on the phone.  At our store the answer is yes.  In the early days of online, it wasn't seamless and it was faster to order over the phone.

I had a decent night tonight for my first 7 deliveries, then things went to crap.

1)  Customer (kid) hands me a wad of cash, says it was $18, the bill was $16.79.  I got back to the car and counted, it was only $16.  I decided since I had walked away, it probably wasn't worth my time to go back and argue for the extra buck.

2)  Next customer (2 kids) hands me a plastic box of $2 and a bunch of coins.  Mostly dimes, nickels, and pennies.  I sat on their porch and counted.  It was $12.59 (barely).  They blamed it on their parents not giving them any money.

3)  Customer #1 above had called back and got the wrong pizza.  I got to do a re-run for free.  At least I got a chance to ask for (and get) my $1 that he shorted me previously.

4)  Customer wasn't home.  Person who was home had no $.  Person gets on phone and calls customer, customer is walking down the block.  Customer pays $18.75 on a $18.59 order.

Total 4 deliveries, $0.37 in spare change.  Not even worthy to be called a tip.

Totals for the night:  6.25 hours, 11 runs, 61 miles, $20 in tips.

Saturday, July 12, 2014


I had an interesting phenomena happen twice in my first 4 deliveries tonight.  The customer pays by credit card, pays a cash tip, and then writes the tip amount on the line and adds the new total.  Newsflash, the tip line on the credit card slip is for credit card tips.  If you write an amount there (and you should) it will be added to your total.

Other interesting things ... one lady cancelled her order because she thought the price should have been lower.  We did just raise our prices, but she ordered online so she should have known her total before placing the order.

Finally (or almost finally), there are 2 motels in our delivery area.  BOTH front desks placed orders tonight within 5 minutes of each other.  Motel 6 ($2.91) tips better than Days Inn ($1.16).

Totals for me were 10.05 hours, 19 deliveries, $54 in tips, and 82 miles driven.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Coin Change

Pizza drivers typically do not carry (or concern themselves with) coin change.  If someone actually wants their coin change back it is simpler to just give them $1 and take the loss, than to spend the time digging in your pockets for the exact change (which has probably fallen into the seat of your car several times by now).

I bring this up tonight because I had 3 customers give me the exact (or within a penny) coin change tonight so that my tip was an even dollar amount.  For example, my first customer owed $31.09.  They paid $31.10 and another $4, so that my tip was $4 (and a penny).  I appreciate it but really $3.91 is really just as good.

When this is NOT appreciated is when the customer pays the exact change without a tip.  Our delivery charge is $2.59 and most of our menu items are priced in even dollar amounts, so I do collect an extra $0.41 on most cash deliveries (by not carrying coin change).  But I had a customer pay $15.60 for their $15.59 order tonight.  Really crummy.

The laugh of the night came from a female customer placing an order over the phone.  She was paying by credit card and started reading me the card numbers over the phone.  She started with 4 numbers, then proceeded on to start giving me letters!  I stopped her, saying that credit cards don't have letters.  She assured me that this one did, before stating "Oh wait I am holding it upside down!"

Totals for the night were 10.22 hours worked, 20 deliveries taken, $65 in tips, and 79 miles.  Definitely my best cash night at the new location and also my biggest # of deliveries!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

What Do Blake Shelton, Independence Day, and Pizza Hut Have In Common?

... find out below.

I worked 4-1 tonight but the first 6 hours were pretty much a waste.  The store was dead, as in, everybody was cooking out and no one was ordering pizzas.  I took 3 deliveries during those 6 hours and did allot of cleaning.

Who orders pizza on July 4th?  People who live in apartments, apparently, and don't have a place to cook out.  My first 3 deliveries were to apartments.

Now there was a flier on the wall proclaiming that this would be one of the busiest days of the year and very few request-offs would be honored.  I took the flier down and showed Manager Meredith and she snatched it out of my hands before I could show anyone else!

Once tonight when surprisingly the phone rang, the customer asked, "Do you have the deal Blake Shelton talks about on TV?"  Now I almost never watch TV so of course I had no idea.  I mentioned our Big Meal Deal and the customer seemed to think maybe that was it.  I searched when I got home and all I found was a Blake Shelton commercial for new Barbecue pizzas.

One more amusing thing, I had a delivery to the Motel 6 and a drunk guy in the parking lot asked where they should go to find a dance club.  I had to tell him I had no idea (which is the truth).

Totals for the night were 8.96 hours, 9 deliveries, 45 miles (keeping that 5 mile per delivery average), and $27 in tips.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Late For Work

I hate being late for anything, and I had to be late for work tonight.

Long story short, we bought a forclosure and are remodeling it.  I had some help to finish a difficult task tonight on the roof and we were almost done.  My expert help wasn't available again for another week.  So I stayed a little extra to try to finish, before calling in reinforcements.  I ended up getting to work about 40 minutes after my scheduled time.

The computer was aware and required manager approval before I clocked in!

My night was pretty unremarkable, except that I took my first 4-bagger at the new store.  $10 total in tips on that trip.

For the night I worked 6.86 hours, took 15 runs, drove 70 miles, and earned $43 in tips.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Learning My Way

I took 14 deliveries tonight and only used my GPS once (and I actually had the route correct, I just wasn't sure if I missed the street or not.

Tonight was a really good night for me, despite business overall being slow due to the International Festival in our town.  Out of my 14 deliveries, every customer tipped at least $2, and I had 5 tips of $5 or more.

My 2 biggest tips were in a row, both large orders to gatherings.  Some older gentlemen were gathered in the basement, watching sports or playing cards I'm not sure, but the customer tipped $10 on a $46 order.  The very next order I pulled in and heard loud music and voices coming from the garage.  I actually knocked on the garage door.  The girl hosting the party tipped $8 on a $31 order.

Totals for the night were 8.84 hours, 14 deliveries, $55 in tips, and 65 miles.  I'm enjoying the work and the money, and starting to wonder if I can keep it up at least a couple nights / month during the school year when I am back to teaching math!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Tale Of Two Cities

What an interesting night!  Our shop is on the border of 2 cities.  In comparison, one is very low-income with apartments, duplexes, and older homes.  The other city has a higher average income and has many newly-built homes.

Tonight I had 7 deliveries to the "wealthy" city, collecting $23 in tips, an average of slightly over $3.  The range was $2-$5.

I had 3 deliveries to the "lower-income" city, collecting $10 in tips, also an average of slightly over $3.  This was skewed because one of these tips was to a co-worker and fellow driver who tipped a very generous $6 on her $27 order.

I also had 2 hotel deliveries that tipped a total of $10 ($6 and $4) and one business delivery ($167 in pizza) that tipped $10.  This was 15 large pizzas, and I got to use our store's special (box-shaped) bags that have built in racks and hold 10 pizzas each!

All together my totals were 13 deliveries in 9.48 hours, $54 in tips and 73 miles driven.  The mileage was higher and the delivery count lower due to the large number of single trips to the far corner of the "wealthy" city.

It was the best night I've had so far!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Two Orders, One Lousy Tip

There was a major storm in our town tonight.  Trees and branches were down, roads had standing water, and power was out in scattered sections of our delivery area.  Our store did not lose power so deliveries continued.

My next-to-last order of the night was $12.xx in wings to a very nice house in a very nice development.  Zillow tells me the house was built in 2004 and has over 2000 square feet.  Now living in a nice house does not mean you should tip more, just like living in a less expensive house doesn't excuse the customer from tipping less.  But you kind of expect to be treated decently in nicer neighborhoods.

Wrong.  This order tipped one wadded-up dollar bill.

Shortly after I got back to the store, I saw the same address again on the dispatch screen and asked what was wrong.  I expected this was a remake.  No.  A different customer at the same house had ordered again.  Again the order was $12.xx.  Again I took the delivery, but this time no wadded up dollar ... zero tip.

This was a frustrating way to end a decent night.

In 7.9 hours, I drove 65 miles, took 15 deliveries, and made $31 in tips.

Friday, June 13, 2014

I'm Back!

Due to a career change in my full-time job, I haven't delivered pizza since March 2011.  That all changed tonight!

My new job is teaching high school math, which gives me summers off.  We are working on a remodeling project that is costing more than expected, so I decided I could drive a few nights a week this summer.  I contacted my friend and former co-worker Nick who is now the General Manager at a franchise near my the house we are remodeling and of course he hired me.

Tonight was mostly eventless.  I worked 6 hours, took 11 deliveries, drove 50 miles, and made $25 in tips.  The highlight (if there was one) was the guy who tipped me $2 and suggested I buy myself a pop or a coffee if I worked late.

Delivering pizza is a job ... not something drivers do so they can buy an extra pop!